Five Questions with Eric Cooper, Sr.

La Verne Lutheran head coach Eric Cooper, Sr., who coaches future Wildcats Grant Jerrett and Eric Cooper, Jr., talked to about the UA's NCAA tournament run. What have you thought about Arizona's run so far?

Eric Cooper, Sr.: I think it's been awesome. We made it all the way to the championship, so now they need to do it. We both need to win it though. Does the run that Arizona's made and the season that the team has had in some ways legitimize Grant Jerrett and Eric, Jr.'s decisions?

Eric Cooper, Sr.: No, no. The decision our kids made was in place regardless of what they did. Sean Miller's philosophy, the fans and the school were already in place, this is just gravy. No matter what, our expectations were in place. You walk into an Arizona game and it's electric. You can't get that anywhere else in the Pac-10.

You walk into a Sean Miller practice or talk to him about his philosophy and it's really detailed. He understands exactly what he wants to do and that's the kind of program I think the kids should play for. So in some ways, you kind of expected this was going to happen anyway, this just happened sooner than later?

Eric Cooper, Sr.: I didn't expect it this year; I expected it in a few years. But Sean Miller is just a phenomenal guy. He got all of those players to buy into sharing a championship.

A lot of those guys are starters on other college teams but they bought into sharing a championship and doing it together, from the first guy all the way to the last guy. That's huge and he has a lot more he's going to do in the future.

Now he's going to only get better players and he's going to put some in the NBA. It's about to be incredible what he's going to accomplish. What can they accomplish once they do improve the talent level?

Eric Cooper, Sr.: I think a lot of teams win games but I think Sean Miller has a different objective, like me. I've won a lot of games but my objective has never been to win games. The objective has been to develop young men and send them to the next level.

Sean is about to become a general who sends kids to the next level of play. You take a kid like MoMo Jones, who I may have questioned a little bit at the beginning about different things he does on the court, but he has a great opportunity at this point because he learned and he's gotten better over the season. He's going to be able to move on and play at the next level.

That's phenomenal to me, to see kids grow like MoMo has. Derrick has grown in a short period of time. He's going to send kids to the league and that's the next thing he's going to do.

Just like Arizona in the past, like you guys have seen, all those kids got to the NBA, it's because they won Pac-10 titles and got to the Final Four. If Sean Miller is able to win a Pac-10 championship and get to the Final Four, he's going to have at least two kids who get to the NBA. You're in the state finals and go up against Brandon Ashley and Bishop O'Dowd. Tell me how the two teams matchup.

Eric Cooper, Sr.: I think it's a good, even matchup. The positions kind of even out. We need to go out there and play our game and focus on what we do best. We have to play tough, control the boards and things like that.

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